City of Huntsville to use pandemic relief funds on public safety, parks and infrastructure
Published on November 5, 2021
The City of Huntsville will have more than $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to spend on public safety, parks, infrastructure and recruitment.
Administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, ARPA provides $350 billion to eligible state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to offset losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Huntsville will receive $34.4 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) through the ARPA program.
The proposal, approved by Huntsville City Council at its Nov. 4 meeting, was initially presented by Huntsville Finance Director Penny Smith on Oct. 28.
City Administrator John Hamilton provided additional context on one use of ARPA funds – a plan to repurpose the old National Guard Armory. He explained part of the facility would be used by John Hunt Park staff, while the remaining space would accommodate wellness programs for seniors and specifically, anyone with Parkinson’s disease.
“That will be a wellness center that uses a nationally recognized program,” Hamilton said. “That fitness program is very valuable to individuals, predominately seniors, who have that affliction.”
As approved, the funds would be allocated as follows:
- $17 million for 21 new fire trucks, including three ladder trucks, 17 pumper trucks and one hazardous material (HAZMAT) truck.
- $11.5 million to improve certain parks and recreation facilities, including the Armory renovation. Funds will also be spent to build Legacy Park at Johnson Legacy Center and renovate James Crawford Park.
- $2.5 million to help get the City’s cultural landmarks back on solid footing.
- $2 million for stormwater improvements.
- $1 million for a recruitment campaign partnership between the City and Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.